What goes under the sink is the solenoid valve and controller board. Here’s a shot of the solenoid valve.
The solenoid valve says it’s rated at 12V / 6 watts. It seems to work ok at 9V and we ran’em that way for awhile. Now we’re shipping 12V power supplies to cover those of you who have abnormally high water pressure. You can also see in this picture the 1/4″ NPT to 1/8″ barb fittings which connect the valve to smaller diameter plastic tubing. The right hand side is high-pressure tubing that connects to the house water. The left hand side is low pressure tubing that runs up and out to the sink where the cats drink. There’s a small arrow embossed on the low pressure side showing the direction of water flow. Make sure you use high pressure tubing on the inlet side!
This is the completed microcontroller that runs the Cat Faucet MKII along with the solenoid valve power circuit.
The microcontroller limits the maximum ‘On’ time in case something falls in front of the sensor. It also applies some hysteresis to the sensor so that as the cat moves around, the valve isn’t constantly turning on and off. The power circuit operates the solenoid valve and provides regulated 5v power to the microcontroller board.
A saddle valve with a 1/4″ O.D. compression outlet is used to connect the Cat Faucet MKII to the house water supply.
The saddle valve has a built-in needle valve which is used to adjust the maximum water flow. This configuration helps to reduce the flow of water in the event the tubing ruptures or something else goes wrong.
If you’re purchased a board or full kit, the first thing to do is assemble the board. Otherwise, jump to the installation section.
Putting the board together is a relatively easy soldering job. Just solder all the components onto the board
with the following exceptions:
- Make sure you install the 0k jumper! Lack of jumper will cause you board to immediately switch to 5 flash mode and the Cat Sensor will not function
Once assembled, when you apply power to the board you will notice that the status LED flashes. The number of flashes indicates the state of the controller:
- 1 flash = Cat Sensor off
- 2 flashes = Cat Sensor On
- 3 flashes = Cat Sensor On, but maximum on time expired
- 4 flashes = Cat Sensor off, but in delay
- 5 flashes = People sensor on, overrides Cat Sensor
- 7 flashes = Controller reset
The solenoid valve is easy to assemble. Wrap a little Teflon tape around the 1/4″ NPT side of the barbed adapter and screw them into the plastic housing of the solenoid valve. Do the same for the high pressure compression fitting. Do not over-tighten the fittings. You will damage / destroy the plastic solenoid valve body by over tightening. replacement solenoid valves are available on our store page.
Now boil a bit of water and use the hot water to soften up the low pressure tubing (the clear, flexible tubing). While the tubing is warm, push it over the barb on the low pressure side. Make sure you push the tubing on past at least 2 barbs. be careful not to break off the plastic barb on the adapter!
If possible, pressure test the assembly at this point! Make sure you don’t have any leaks where the 1/4″ NPT adapter screws into the solenoid valve housing. If you do, tighten it up a bit or go back and put on more Teflon tape. Note that if you find water leaking through the solenoid valve even when it’s off, you probably have the high pressure and low pressure sides switched. The direction of water flow must follow the direction of the embossed arrow.
The IR sensor in the Cat Sensor kit comes with an odd (and hard to find) JST connector.
Our suggestion is to either remove the existing connector or simply solder the cable wires to the connector pins on the underside of the board. Removing the existing connector is relatively straight-forward. Start by cutting off the white plastic bit on the top side. A pair of wire clippers slipped between the connector and the black plastic of the IR sensor can fairly easily clip the 3 pins from the top side of the board and the connector will fall off. Then with a soldering iron and needle nose you can remove the remains of the pins from the board leaving 3 holes where the new cable can be attached. You may need to use a bit of solder-wick to clean up the holes.
On the other end of the cable, both the sensor kit and assembled unit come with each wire already having a crimped on female pin connector covered in heat-shrink tubing.
This configuration was chosen to make it easier to thread the sensor wire through small holes. The down-side is that when you disconnect / re-connect the Cat sensor to the controller board you must make sure you get the wires in the right order.
On the controller side of the cable, Pin 1 = Green – signal, Pin 2 = Red – Vcc, Pin 3 = Black – Gnd and on the Sensor side, it should be Pin 1 = Green – signal, Pin 2 = Black – Gnd, and Pin 3 = Red – Vcc. Double check your wiring before you apply power as incorrect wiring can damage your sensor! You can check the pin out on the sensor spec here if you have any questions.